19 March 2015

Just so agreeable

Simon Milman returned with a new band playing his compositions. Simon covers a broad field and seems to have always provided at least some compositions for the bands I've seen him play in. I heard him with Wanderlust last year launching an album of his tunes. This band is Goal to Hurl. They played at Hippo for their first outing and it was wonderfully accessible music: varied styles with reliable grooves, satisfying and challenging melodies and some great solos. I only caught the first set but I was sold. First up was an insistent latin feel with nice unison head. Then a reggae, then a laid back four feel, then a country cowboy feel that turned to European playful lightness that made me think of Nino Rota or Jacque Tati. Then a bent post-bop blues with substituted changes and a calypso to finish the set. Very approachable but also deeply interesting and wonderfully played. I loved the incessant but not-at-all plodding grooves. There was consistency and drive but also embellishment and enhancement. Simon's walk on the medium up blues was exemplary - nicely repeating notes, nicely explored registers and scale degrees; one other was just simple arpeggios through the chords and it worked a treat; others spelt the groove, but moved easily through enhancements. Drummer Luke, too, was strong on groove, never confusing the beat, but easily adding colour. Guitar Matt was clear and choppy in comping and had some great phrasing in solos and some exciting high lines. I was particularly taken by Tom on tenor. He's playing with laidback blues balls but also with contemporary jazz analysis. He takes time, explores, sideshifts or substitutes or just spells out the changes, with firmness and big tone and inevitability. Nice. And the whole was like that too: easy, unforced, not superfluous or unexpected. These are seasoned players and it shows.

Goal to Hurl comprises Simon Milman (bass, compositions), Tom Fell (tenor), Matt Lustri (guitar) and Luke Glanville (drums). They played at Hippo.

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